Life throws some curveballs at you sometimes. It’s why, while we of course love capturing weddings, in the end it’s the rewards of the marriage journey. Erica and Ryan were among our first weddings during our first full year as wedding photographers in 2003 (and the first wedding from which we ever made a feature album), and we have such strong memories of the day with them. The shot below of Erica with her brother and mom remains one of Anne’s all-time favorites.

It was nice to reconnect recently and learn about the past dozen years of their lives…

– What challenges have you both faced & how did you handle them &/or learn from them?

In November 2011 my mother passed at 61, one week after she retired. Ryan and I kept her house and spent five months apart while he fixed it up. Then it burned down when we were 99% done. We decided to do it again. Two weeks later my grandmother passed. It was the craziest year ever. Against all odds, Ryan and I stuck together and plodded through. Life kicks you in the shins sometimes and when it does is how you actually learn what you are made from. On June 4, 2013, I found out I was pregnant. While full of joy, there was also heartache when I realized that I would do this without either of my parents. Sadly, for this some of my joy was taken away. It would have been so different if I had my Mom on this journey.

– Have you had any unexpected joys?

After 14 years together, we welcomed Evelyn Stephanie Alexander in January 2014. She is sassy, funny and sweet and we are madly in love with her.

– Where has life found you since your wedding day?

In the 11 years since our wedding we have lived in Las Vegas, DC, Chapel Hill, NC and New York. We are back in DC now, sometimes home is right here you left it. We also had a whirlwind three months gallivanting through Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand. It was wonderful to show the pictures to my Mom an grandmother, as that family lived in Thailand and Vietnam while my grandfather was in the CIA. We were the first family to go in over 50 years.

– What do you remember most about your wedding day when you look at your photos?

I felt sad that my dad was not there; it would have made him so happy. I remember how excited I was to round that corner to see Ryan at the end of the aisle. I remember feeling really relaxed and having fun. I remember wanting to throttle both he caterer and the DJ. Ha ha.

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Erica and Ryan, thank you so much for sharing, and congratulations on your anniversary!